Last night I went to the brighton open rights group meetup with prospective meps. The parties that bothered to send mep wonnabes were greens, labour, libdems, ukip and tories.
A bit of a shame because I hoped to check some other parties like yourvoice and the socialists.. Anyhow..
The whole event seemed very formal, with a panel presentation by the candidates, and pre-prepared questions by ORG brighton, hence it felt like sort of disruptive just to raise an issue or put a question up.. Very uncomfortable.. I failed to get passed that, and kind of sounded a bit aggressive in my own subsequent interventions.. Perhaps such meetings are not yet for me.. I need to learn.. If anyone that was there is reading this – apologies for some abrupt remarks!
Regarding the content of the meeting..
The attitude of the candidates to subjects, people and themselves seemed very childish and vacuous at that. (rather than, for example, childish wonder and imagination..) For example:
The libdems rep omitted the greens as any viable political entity by Not acknowledging the green candidate sitting at the same table.
The UKIP rep was happily conflating between information – ie data – and knowledge – ie how informations is used. This is perhaps in line with UKIP’s own conflated premise that confuses between singularity (a singular entity not requiring exchanges with other elements to be) and independence.. (being in various links, connections, relations and other dynamic exchanges with entities while keeping one’s own evolving character.)
The Tories and Labour candidates were happily, in a sense, agreeing with one another about having to employ some sort of censorship to “protect” people.
At that though the Tory rep exhaled by boasting that when he heard of his daughter check porn, he drove so quickly to get her, that it didn’t matter how many traffic laws he broke on the way.. (makes me wonder how might that have played if he accidentally hit someone..) Indeed, I wondered whether this act was for him to feel good about himself, rather than provide any supporting parent for his daughter..
The Labour candidate showed ignorance by not signing the 10 point charter, on the bases that point 3 – unrestricted access – seemed like an opening for “harmful” porn.. An ignorance that wasn’t shared with the green and libdems people. Though the libdem candidate did underline the very general nature of the 10 points. So general, he said, that he could interpret it as he might need/like/require..
The Greens candidate seemed to ignore the whole idea of exchanging views as a process that *might* contribute to a person’s own perceptions. This was well demonstrated by the final statement that was read from a pre-written text..
In some ways the act by the green candidate was sort of symbolic to the meeting because despite each candidate’s initial statements that included a “thanks for coming” – the actual content that was talked, was neither elaborated nor discussed. ie we could have read it all online and save a few hours.. No interactive exchange..
Moreover, the candidates seemed to share an idea, perhaps an ideology, or a culture, that talks of democracy while contending that freedom and security are elements to be “balanced”.
This uniting element between the parties has a few sides.. One of which is the aggressive nature of proposed solutions. So aggressive that in my view its violent. Solutions are taken as done via legistlation rather than negotiative processes, education, legitimisation, and critical questioning. Again, using a sort of childish approach of good/bad, the discussion leans towards legistlating as power to control..
I think this brings up clearly the anti democratic nature made of false dichotomy between freedom and security. This was done in a historical ignorant manner – ie as if the link between security and freedom was not questioned before. As if its an unquestionable element that is then being played in child like good/bad scenarios. (eg we want technology to be used more for good than bad, etc.. )
I really don’t know. Even the film had an ugly.. However, in my mind, the very ability to good-bad arguments contributed to the feeling of raving infantilisation. Though I wouldn’t speak to kids like that as it degrades.
It is very hard for me to tell whether the candidates are really intellectually shallow that they think everything is reducible to good/bad, while keeping a substantial argument. or maybe they think the audience is that shallow? Perhaps if these kind of binaries are not challenged frequently it illustrates a rather intellectually barren socio-political sketch..?
Anti democratic because if democracy is about elements such as:
discussion, critique, education, evolving ideas together and as individuals, learning how to become a society and being able to take part in the process, and critiquing power fearlessly if power shows up –
then the culture of placing security as a sort of barrier/border for freedom seeking processes is operating to moderate the processes that suppose to make democracy deliver its premise of questioning powers, and delivering evolving emancipation and equality.
As to the dichotomy that seems so prevalent and used so often yet in my mind, like the emperor’s cloths, the more its being bigged up, the more empty and irrelevant it becomes – freedom and security.
The argument of its proponents goes along the lines of
Hey, you can not have freedom for people to do anything they like, we have to have some rules, no?
Now.. If the reply to this this is Well, some.. Probably.. Yes.. Then in my mind its a miss-perception of freedom.
Freedom is not an object, or objective – but a process. Hence the initial proposition of “if anyone can do as they please” is a false premise.
The process of freedom is very simple, its to maximise our operations as individuals, units, teams, societies, cultures and species. How do I know that I can NOT run 100m in 10secs? Is it because there was a law that said so? If there was a law, or a social convention, that posited that I can not run x distance in y speed, I might have not tried, and then would have lived in ignorance made of feeling that perhaps I could run that fast.
Now, sure, running does not seem relevant because it seems irrelevant for political and social engagements. However, if we lived is a society where, for example, the “founding parents”, used to run 100m in 9secs, and that was their way to claim legitimacy – then perhaps running quicker than that will seem challenging for power, right?
This, in my view is the issue of “security”, it masks itself as helping society to run smoothly, while in reality – its all about keeping power.
The processes of freedom, in and of themselves, by their own operations, require certain social inabilities. One of such freedom-inability is precisely one to do with security – that of fearlessness. If we are to be in a process of freedom, then just like I need to be able to operate fearlessly, so does the other. If I take away that right from the other, am removing my own ability to operate fearlessly – hence opt out of the freedom processes.
In other words, limits are all around us, they can be used to oppress, initiate fears, and legitimate power, or to be questioned, inspiring, educational and discovered. As free as the evolution of freedom might become, it will always contain its own limitations.
If we are not allowed to question these limitations fearlessly, then we are sure to bump into limitations that are there only to facilitate power – hence lead to social unrests, personal mishaps, and cultural & artistic time waste.
..or as the tory mep wonnabe said:
when i heard my daughter was watching porn, i broke every traffic rule on the way to get her.
..and did not object to the suggestion he did it all for himself to feel better – not his daughter’s best interests..
If I was his daughter, I’d probably have a mental injury for a while..
Freedom is a process that in and of itself contains security, it allows security to Be. For example, via fearless discussion about porn, a chat-mode I doubt could have happen if my father just broke every rule in the book to get to me.. I’d be both slightly embarrassed and afraid to upset him further..
Though perhaps am presupposing an ability to discuss stuff.. Clearly, people who seek power to lord over the rest of us, seem to consider it a waste of time..
Will I vote?
Probably, begrudgingly, to the greens because:
* they are part of the least corporations friendly groups in the eu parliament.
* they are part of the most internet savvy groups in the eu parliament.
* the overall group the greens are part of rather than the greens’ own particular activities and behaviours.. (eg, my green mep is yet to reply for a question i put in 2012, yet happy to add me to his mailing list and spam with out any question or concern..)
All candidates + % projections:
South East European Candidates 2014